This is as close as Mike’s going to get to saying ‘that one line’
Editor’s note: There was a profanity in today’s column. But we can’t use profanity in a family newspaper, so Mike had to change the wording. In its place, he has substituted the word “fracking.” We here in Pennsylvania know what fracking is because it’s been in the news quite a bit in our state. It’s the technique of fracturing an underground rock layer using pressurized fluLd IoU WhH SuUSosH oI HxWUDcWLng petroleum or natural gas from the earth. (Mike had to look it up, too.)
All I’ve ever wanted was one line. That’s it, just one line. Despite the fact that I am not an actor and have absolutely no theatrical experience whatsoever, I’ve always looked for the opportunity to have just a cameo appearance on some television show or in some movie so that I could utter just that one line.
It looks like the closest I’m ever going to get is to have an exchange with an actor whose character might actually have said the line.
When “The Sopranos” was on HBl, the Soprano crew used to hang at a place called Satriale’s Pork Store in northern New Jersey. lutside the store on the sidewalk were a couple of tables, covered with red and white-checkered tablecloths. There the wiseguys would sit and shoot the breeze and conduct business.
I always wanted to be one of the henchmen, a bit player on the fringe, maybe a soldier in the crew, sitting with my elbows on those checkered tablecloths, chewing on a big cigar and kibitzing with the rest of the pisanos. And then at the opportune moment at the appropriate point in the conversation about a guy who had ratted to the cops and needed to be whacked, I would utter the line: “That fracking guy.”
That’s it. lne line sitting at the Satriale’s table. Roll the credits. But it never happened.
Then HBl had a series called “Deadwood,” about the Black Hills of South Dakota during the 1870s. It featured historical characterizations RI IDPRuV fiJuUHV OLNH :LOG BLOO Hickok, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp and George Hearst.
The villain on that show was a character named Al Swearengen (played brilliantly by actor Ian McShane) and Al owned the Gem Saloon, which attracted a clientele of townspeople and prospectors of questionable character.
I always wanted to be one of those dusty-looking questionable cowboy characters, sitting in the corner of the Gem Saloon, listening to Al talk about whose throat he was going to slit next.
And I wanted to mumble the line: “That fracking guy.” But it never happened.
Then HBl had a series titled “The Wire,” which was mostly about the drug culture of inner city Baltimore. ,n WKH finDO VHDVRn, RnH RI WKH VWRrylines was about a reporter at the Baltimore Sun who was more concerned with winning a Pulitzer Prize than he was about telling the truth with accurate reporting.
I wouldn’t have even had to break character for that cameo. I could have easily played the grizzled old copy editor, who takes one look at the rouge reporter’s lying prose, and said, “That fracking guy.” But it never happened.
Which brings me to the actor who might have actually said something like that in his career: Joe Gannascoli, who played gangster sito Spatafore for four seasons on “The Sopranos.”
I’ve always been a fan of the show and Joe’s character, so I was surprised to see several months ago that the actor had accepted my friend request on Facebook. But we had never really had any direct Facebook exchanges until recently.
Joe posted one day that he was looking for baseball cards of players named “Joe.” In exchange, he was offering an autographed photo of himself in his Sopranos character.
So I thumbed through my baseball cards and pulled about 20 cards of guys named “Joe.” I posted the list on his Facebook page and wrote that if he was interested, I would send them to him.
This prompted him to post a highly entertaining thread about my offer that included his wife chiming in about how he’d better make sure that I understood I was getting a picture signed by only him and not the entire cast of “The Sopranos.” The exchange ended with Joe saying to his wife, “Whatta you, his agent? Never mind that, go dust.” To which she replied, “Ha! Ha! I have you for that. Go clean the basement.”
It was all in good fun and I certainly enjoyed being part of the exchange.
So I sent the baseball cards to Joe, and about a week later I received three autographed photos in return, all in his “sito” character from “The Sopranos.” Cool. lf course, one of the photos showed sito sitting at a table outside Satriale’s Pork Store, elbow on the red and white-checked tablecloth, left hand holding a big cigar over an ashtray, looking like he was about ready to say my line.
The photo was signed “To Mike, Joe Gannascoli, sito.”
Joe didn’t have any advance knowledge of my desire to have one line on screen some day before he sent the pictures. But if I would have been thinking, I would have made a one request.
I would have asked him to sign it “To Mike … that fracking guy.” And that would have been close enough for me.
MLkH MoUsch Ls HxHcuWLvH HdLWoU of Montgomery Media and author of the book, “Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life.” He can be reached by calling 215-542-0200, HxW. 415 oU Ey HPDLl at email@example.com. This column can also be found at www. montgomerynews.com.
Pictured are stars of the HBO series ìThe Sopranos,î from left: Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti; Joe Gannascoli, who played Vito Spatafore; and James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano.